Taking Your Daughter To The Gynecologist For The First Time

Few women would claim to enjoy a trip to the gynecologist's office, but an annual exam is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy reproductive system. As much as you dislike gynecological exams, it might make you cringe even more to make an appointment for your daughter. It's tough to think about your daughter's reproductive system, but making that first appointment is an important part of your daughter's overall health and well-being. Knowing what to expect, however, can help ease your worries and make the entire experience less stressful for you and for your daughter.

What Age Does My Daughter Need the First Appointment?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls visit the gynecologist for the first time between the ages of 13 and 15. This might seem early, but it's important that your daughter develop a relationship with her gynecologist so that as she gets older, she's comfortable talking about her reproductive health.

The Interview Part of the Exam

Before your daughter has to get undressed and put on the paper gown, her gynecologist will ask her a series of questions to get a picture of her health history. Your daughter will need to tell the gynecologist if she's started her period yet and, if she has, when the date of her last menstrual cycle was. The gynecologist will also ask questions about the frequency of her periods, any pain or other complaints she has during her period and if she uses pads or tampons. Though it will likely be embarrassing and uncomfortable, your daughter's gynecologist might also ask about sex. She'll ask if your daughter has had any sexual encounters, as well as what she knows about protecting herself from STDs and pregnancy.

The Physical Exam

Most first gynecological exams for healthy girls include an external examination of the genitals and genital area. Your daughter might also receive a breast exam as part of her first visit. If your daughter has had abnormal bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge, the gynecologist might also conduct an internal exam to determine what could be causing these type of problems. Girls who are healthy and don't have complaints about their period or other genital issues usually don't need an internal exam, including a Pap smear, until they reach the age of 21. If your daughter is sexually active, an internal pelvic exam, with a Pap smear, is also necessary, even if she's not 21 yet. This will include a check of her uterus and ovaries, as well as her vagina.

Reassuring Your Daughter

It's completely normal for your daughter to be nervous about her first visit to the gynecologist. Explain as much as you can ahead of time because knowing what to expect can help ease her fears. Remind your daughter that the actual exam part only takes a few minutes. Offer to stay in the exam room with your daughter if that will help her feel more at ease and encourage her to ask questions throughout if she is nervous or doesn't understand something. Finding a female gynecologist, such as Mile High OB GYN, might also help.